Sunday, 14 June 2015



Parks & Raptors.

124 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Jake Johnson & Irrfan Khan. Director: Colin Trevorrow.

Dinosaurs have been a part of this writers DNA for as long as I can remember (Forget that cool and cute cartoon strand of excellent exposition that looked like it was lifted from a 90's Microsoft 'Paperclip', "how can I help you?" program). Way before the amber sap of Amblin Entertainment, when Michael Crichton's brilliant bestselling novel idea of bringing these prehistoric creatures back from extinction was brought to life in 1993. When 'Jurassic Park' opened its gates and the minds of every child's vivid imagination and wonderment and instantly became a classic and the biggest and best blockbuster of all-time. Not just the greatest and most creative movie ever made by iconic director Steven Spielberg of classics like 'E.T.' (please nobody ever try and remake this in C.G.) and 'Jaws' (you're going to need a bigger tank as this shark makes a cameo here. A little more than tongue in cheek as he's gobbled up by a massive Mosasaurus, one of this zoo and movies most magnificent attractions). Before all that I was just a small boy with some big toy dinosaurs, slamming them in to each other and trying my best to cough up roaring sounds years before my voice would even break. Back then I thought my imaginations had the makings of a decent story. Maybe those in charge of the 'Jurassic' franchise looking to come back from the brink of the third installments extinction should go back to the future and sign up my young mind, because nothing will beat the magic or the Goldblum of the original. Although the sequel based on the other classic Crichton book 'The Lost World' had all that and that golden age 90's blockbuster feel too. Now, however in this 'Mad Max' reboot revival and 'Furious 7' sequel saturation age we have a new series, armed to the teeth of new franchise star Chris Pratt. More than cutting it, hot off the rocket heels of his out of this world 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' superhero, superstar debut (literally this time last year to some Hollywood types he was a nobody). But will this series capture the same imagination of a young boy who may as well be Ross from 'Friends' the way he loves dinos like Jennifer Aniston's Rachael, even 20 years later as almost a 30 year old man? The same kid whose childhood plastic dinosaur toys where joined by the classic 'Jurassic Park' figures and vehicles he found under the family tree, Christmas morning in '93 and the T-Rex he found on his bed Christmas night (thanks forever mum and dad). The same kid who used to boast, armed with the old, collectible cinema cap (that I hope that's still in the attic) that he'd seen 'Jurassic Park' twice without even going to the toilet once...because you know how that all turned out. A big kid who loves 'J.P.' as much and for as long as his favorite sports team the Los Angeles Lakers (sorry Toronto Raptors). You get it. My childhood was basically those big wooden gates, now strangely but ever-so sweetly in modern blue and chrome with a theme park monorail sliding into it. Welcome to 'Jurassic World'!

Do you hear that? Can you feel it? Do you see the vibrations in your glass of water or soda and popcorn. They're back! Even if you've seen it all before to start this years Summer blockbuster season like 'The Avengers-Age Of Ultron'. Re-waking your fond nostalgia like fellow dinosaurs Arnie in the 'Terminator' spell-check and the Cruise away from middle-age in 'Mission Impossible-Rouge Nation.' Ready to duke it out old school style with the new domination of Marvel. But do the monsters and machines have what it takes to beat superheros like the 'Fantastic Four' and 'Ant-Man' no matter how big they are? The latest sequel/reboot of sorts in the 'Jurassic' age has some of that old world feeling, as well as being that much apart too. Which in muddled confusion may be one of the reasons this film is really and truly good, but not as great as everyone is saying (there I said it and I'm sorry). Big in its blockbuster sense, but shallow like when you get to the bottom of your popcorn and its nothing but kernels in it's depth, even for a movie of its type. And before you say; "it's a big-budget effects film, the only depth you need is the Mosasaurus tank". I say to you remember those Crichton theories by the book that Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm brought to cinematic light (you see the page by page references here at least)? Well this is just chaos! Even if sometimes that in theory is a great thing! Perhaps armed with embryonic influence, the re-makers who are "so preoccupied with whether or not they could" here maybe need to "stop to think if they should". Perhaps 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver should have brought more darkness after the 'Dawn'.  Never 'Transformers-Age Of Extinction' s####-noise however, the white hot action features a lot of running and screaming as per. But far less "ooh's" and "aahs" that Ian Malcolm promised a young Vince Vaughn in his dramatic debut in 1997's sequel, before the comedy actor brought that signature laugh for decades, only to come back full-circle this year, all-serious (and probably sublime) for 'True Detective' season 2. The more things change the more they should stay the same. So don't slap 'Jurassic World' on a lunchbox just yet. Maybe it's time to buy a 'Jurassic Park' t-shirt off eBay like one of the best things about this movie, 'New Girl's' Jake Johnson (he collects dinosaur me), in his Nedry do good role. As a matter of fact, what became of that shaving foam canister? Ah, ah, ahh! For the joy of nostalgia's sake there are plenty of picture pretty perfect, magic word dedications to the originals that are outstanding and too good to ruin here (like a classic comedy cameo...and no it's not Samuel L. Jackson with a metal arm like I hoped...he may be in everything, but not in this) in just another review. Just like when that beautiful, iconic theme music comes in, (with a perfectly 'Jaws' like executed slow, death piano peril version played on the trailer) rivaling 'Star Wars' once again. Whereas the new Hollywood, IMAX, 3D stuff that tries to obliterate everything else is epic, but not just on the same scale as the old school. In some ways the franchise has learned from the Rex-battling and beating, Spinosaurus logo of 'Jurassic Park III' that is better (especially next to this...albeit being very similar) than most give credit for (I know..."Alan"!). Yet hybrid Hollywood creation trying to out monster last years 'Godzilla' as 'Predator' of this heat seeking forest or not, the T-Rex is the lion 'King Kong' of this jungle. Always has been. Always will be. Even if you're too still to see, this small armed legend could out box any other creature when it comes to movie legends. Say all you want about his own 90's 'Godzilla' impression in 'The Lost World' but nothing here tips or even cracks the window of the two trailer, two Tyrannosaurus tag-time, tension build battle. I'm sorry "Imodium" Rex-playing with a weird hamster ball, instead of taking on the best jeep you've ever seen-you've got style beyond Barney...but you don't give me the s####. Thank goodness they didn't hybrid that 'Trisegasaurus' (or is it 'Stegatops'?) toy we saw on store shelves...although one day can we get a little more than a classic sick Triceratops or human rhino charging one? A fight between a T-Rex and these horns would make for one epic dino-fight. Even if we do have the Wrestlemania of an out of the cage match one here that tags on to the end better than anything you could smell The Rock cooking from 'San Andreas' to Isla Nublar, Costa Rica.

There's more than just one of our dinosaurs is missing! Remember the old film had you not wanting to go to the bathroom in more ways than one? Even if "when you've got to go, you've got to go". Don't get me wrong this film isn't one big pile of s###! It is good...especially for it's time. Nudge, classic dinosaur eye terror blink wink! But when the even impressive C.G., can't top the classic, vintage Animatronics of 20 years back then Houston...we have a problem. Sorry...wrong movie! But that's the point! 'Jurassic World' is an enjoyable tribute with a formidable footprint into the future. But for all those "38 sequels" Chris Pratt has signed up for lets go back to the meat and potatoes of the Rex we love in our imaginations grown up toy stories. Sure this movie works on a lot of levels. From the craziest Birdcage I've ever seen since Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, to a pretty funny Petting Zoo that really does poke and prod fun. As a matter of fact this film is a lot smarter than you (or I appear to be giving credit for) think. With a new novel idea, of turning 20 years on the parks head and having it open for business that needs more boom in this iPhone age of everyone lost in screen time. Perhaps after all the man versus God playing of creator and controller of life debate, nobody gives a crap anymore. It takes some shots at us, whilst delivering one in its own arm. Having it's hand forced to cook up a whole new dinosaur in the lab. But as Chris Pratt (always with all the best lines) somewhat ironically tells us "they're dinosaurs...WOW enough"! Again the tricks of this trade add more legacy to the legend, but the magic is just missing here. There's no real, special spark until Bryce Dallas Howard lights a flare and the red-haired bob bombshell is on fire here too mind. No longer to be confused with fellow great actress from 'The Help', Jessica Chastain as we all join the 'Dallas Bryce Club'. Especially when she breaks those heels in and looks more like a part of Laura Dern's costume department in the final act of the movie, complete with a blood-curdling, classic "RUUUUUN" scream that's hallmark movie peril perfection. There's cast similarities all around. 'Iron Man 3's' Ty Simpkins connects with Nick Robinson (no, not the B.B.C. political editor but the sitcom star of 'Clarissa' and 'Sabrina's' 'Melissa (Joan Hart) and Joey') to try the cute, lost, not-immediate family so it's OK (it really isn't) kid shtick with marks for effort, but they'll never be Lex and Tim. Whereas 'Life Of P.I' star Irrfan Khan takes ownership from Hammond, but will never be the tiger colorful personality that's old dear Dickie (Rest Peacefully Dr Richard Attenborough). French, 'Bishop' star of 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Omar Sy is a welcome new face (although he could have used that big energy absorbing gun), while it's great to see one old one appear in B.D. Wong (who also impressed with Will Smith in this years 'Focus'). The ever-likable Vincent D'Onofrio is here too. Coming off his crowning Kingpin, classic moment in the new Marvel, 'Daredevil' series to play a gun-ho InGen employee who forgets what it Bob Peck means to be a true, park ranger. Whereas part Peck (training Raptors instead of hunting them) and Dr. Alan Grant hybrid Chris Pratt is canvas khakis (without the fedora...that would be a little on the Jones nose) on washing-up powder steroids in this new world. Making fan-boys of dinosaurs and comic-books alike eased in their pain of missing the old shade faces and leather. His 'Indiana Jones' audition is whip-crack delivered here for a man who is as good in this as he is as Star-Lord in 'Guardians'. Now everything is awesome for this 'LEGO Movie' franchise king is the face of more films than when Robert Downey Jnr was both Tony Stark and 'Sherlock Holmes' at his peak. Pratt did tell other director James Gunn he wanted to shoot 'Iron Man' in the face...I think he just did. Knocking it out the park like he did in his supporting role in 'Moneyball'. Even convincing us in what otherwise could have been the worst thing that happened to this franchise since a satellite phone call, that he can train and tame this series most vicious creatures and characters...the Velociraptors (although they do look stupid wearing what looks like Beats By Dre headphones (oh and what's with all the beyond a gift shop gag product placement) as a part of the coolest, 'Wild Hogs' biker gang you've seen since Schwarzenegger's one man, shotgun show in 'Judgement Day'). With a relationship built on respect...not Bates 'Misery' domestication. This film may hit you like a cinder block, but we'll always prefer throwing everything including the kitchen sink. Giving us his world of tomorrow, director Trevorrow's Park re-opening and bold, blockbuster debut seems to have dinosaurs ruling the earth once again like 65 million years ago from its gate receipts and it's well worth a visit. But I'm still not sure if I completely endorse this park. After careful consideration, you may not too. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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